Police say Victoria’s emergency services are inundated in and around “Welfare Wednesday.” (Black Press Media files)

Should B.C. nix ‘Welfare Wednesday’ and stagger income assistance cheques?

Liberal MLA calls for cheques to be staggered through the month instead of the same week

With illicit drug overdoses killing an average of four people per day in B.C., one Liberal MLA hopes a change to how welfare cheques are distributed may help bring some reprieve.

Social assistance cheques are issued every third or fourth Wednesday of the month, garnering the name “Welfare Wednesday.” In the days that follow, first responders and frontline workers say they see a significant increase in overdose calls and deaths.

A study by the B.C. Centre on Substance Use found that, since 2009, 40 per cent more people have died during that week than any other time during the month.

Jane Thornthwaite, who represents North Vancouver-Seymour and is the Liberals’ mental health and addictions critic, put forward a private member’s bill this week, calling for the distribution of the cheques to be staggered through the month.

READ MORE: Study looks to effects of changing universal income assistance cheques

READ MORE: Most of B.C.’s overdose victims face financial hardship before death

She said she’s been lobbied by some first responders who are overwhelmed during income assistance week.

Researchers at the centre on substance use have been studying what would happen if the province were to split the one income assistant cheque into two every month, or not make the payments on one universal day province-wide.

That report is set to be released in coming months.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Chemainus sea walk plans get a boost

North Cowichan to sign right-of-way agreements with VIHA

Local beekeeper wants residents to use pesticides more responsibly

Paula Masyk has kept bees for a little over two months, and has had two pesticide events since then

Sizzling season starts with Summer Fest celebrations in Chemainus

Rotary Club event features plenty of food, entertainment and a parade

Memorial Midget C Hockey Tournament supports Puska

Ladysmith man in need of a kidney transplant receiving abundant financial contributions

VIDEO: Trans Mountain expansion project gets green light, again

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon

Man to be sentenced for sexual abuse of young girl in Nanaimo

Stephen Mark Castleden also sentenced for child pornography-related charges

MPs hear retired B.C. nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

Horgan says he’ll still defend B.C. coast after second Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, one B.C. First Nation has announced plans for a legal challenge

VIDEO: Firefighters stop blaze from spreading after BMW crashes at Saratoga Speedway

Victoria-based businessmen were ‘corner training’ on Father’s Day when incident took place

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

Grieving B.C. mom hopes Facebook message leads to new investigation into son’s Surrey homicide

Criminal Justice Branch didn’t lay charges, concluding no substantial likelihood of murder or manslaughter conviction

Ginger Goodwin’s Cumberland cemetery grave desecrated

Just days before the Miners Memorial weekend, Ginger Goodwin’s grave has been… Continue reading

B.C.’s measles vaccination program gains traction in May

More than 15,000 doses of the MMR vaccine has been administered across the province

Most Read